Automation may not completely replace service staff, but will likely reduce work hours, lower wages, and hide high demands on manpower and poor working conditions


"People go to a bar to evacuate, have experiences, ask questions," Paganelli said. "How are you doing this with a robot?"

Workers' demands also included the implementation of new technologies that they believe would enhance safety, such as panic buttons activated by GPS to combat harassment and motorized cleaning carts, which are less physically stressful for women of room. Unlike employees of fast food chains and cafes, both of whom are experiencing automation problems, many hotel workers are planning a career in their area for life. Paganelli, for example, said he hoped to retire from his position at Marriott. This means that he can not afford to ignore the changes coming in five or even ten years.

Rather than completely replacing human workers with Jetson-The style robots, the service sector is more likely to adopt a partial automation system. Simple tasks will be automated to reduce employee work hours or assign work to two people, such as a concierge service or overnight reception, to a robot-assisted person.

This reshaping of the technology-based workforce may seem to "save" time for the companies involved. But this time is also subtracted from the workers in the form of reduced hours. These changes are difficult to quantify on a large scale because they may not be reflected in employment figures or even in hourly wages, but in the hours of work of each employee per week. "Robots do not take your job," Brennan Hoban of the Brookings Institution wrote last year, "your salary."

Of course, automation is just one of the technologies that is redefining the industry. More and more, hotel guests are opting for food delivery applications such as Grubhub or Postmates to room service. They are generally cheaper and chains sometimes offer discount codes for customers who decide to place their orders. However, hotel staff complained that when applications overshadow room service, hotel chains employ fewer room service employees.

Food delivery applications are not automated, but the choice between room service and Grubhub represents a compromise between workers and employees in the larger economy. For smaller hotels in particular, it may prove more profitable to offer discount codes to guests instead of having 24-hour room service. This makes things easier. less expensive for the hotel and the client, but the workers miss hours and opportunities for tips.

There are historical parallels between time-saving technology and its relationship with mining, some of which date back to the slave era. In "The Charade Automation", writer Astra Taylor reviews a video of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation featuring Jefferson's personal dumbwaiter, a small dumbwaiter used in Jefferson's house that sent food and wine to kitchens directly in the dining room. The device made the meals more convenient than carrying food by several stairs, but the narrator of the video reveals its second function: the meals prepared by Jefferson's slaves could be served without the guests seeing them, "which gives the impression that the price of the evening had been retracted. by magic, "writes Taylor. The goal of the mountaineer was to speed up the catering service, but its effect was to conceal, and thus promote, slavery. Here, removing the human element has facilitated the concealment of work and servitude.